Tales Out Of School

Strange Stories from the Global Classroom
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The Independent Online
Calling Ron! Your union needs you: Elections will be taking place next week for posts on the University of Warwick's Student Union Committees and Executive. Posts on offer include the Sports Federation, and Societies Federation, as well as an additional 11 delegates to represent the close- knit community of Warwick students at the annual National Union of Students' conference in Blackpool next Easter.

However, this shows how little interest the vast majority of students take in student elections. Despite "an extremely well-contested set of elections last year," according to the university's latest newsletter, the posts remained unfilled - leading to these new elections. Why? Because the resounding winner of the elections for the various categories was RON; obviously an appealingly stylish name for Warwick voters to hang their hopes on. But who is Ron? He is that famous electioneer present at every count, "Re-Open Nominations" - the box you tick if you are not keen on any of the candidates and want the nominations re-opened.

The only trouble was that it wasn't actually spelled out that this is what Ron meant, and that he wasn't a real person. Unwittingly, Warwick students voted for "him" in their droves and, hence, for another election. The ultimate triumph of style over substance!

Born lucky: The age of student radicalism in Britain seems further away now than it ever has done. A survey by NatWest Bank, published last week, shows that students are willing to be members of police identification line-ups, ask for cash instead of presents at birthdays and Christmas, marry a rich person or, bizarrely, travel forward in time to get stock- market tips.

...and not so lucky: Students may feel poor, but they should spare a thought for their comrades in Romania, who have been marching in their thousands during the last two weeks in cities across the country to protest about abysmally low grants and scholarships. Average grants in Romania are the not-so-princely sum of $8 a month (about pounds 5). In the UK, with a full loan, students live on pounds 300 a month. Some people just don't know they're born!

Chris Brown